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on 27 July 2012
I got this about two months ago and have been putting it through its paces ever since. I wanted a small camera I could slip in a pocket and a wide angle lens - I used to have a great 24mm wide angle with an SLR many years ago and I loved the landscapes and depth of field you could get with it. This camera has brought back memories of that lens, only this one is available on a zoom and doesn't have to be fixed on to the body each time you want a wide angle shot! Plus it has some great effects like the panoramas (left to right or back, up and down etc) which are easy to use - just sweep the camera slowly around - or the miniaturising effect (designed to make real life look like a small model set) which can produce some rather ethereal results - worth experimenting with.

The camera is very tiny but manageable, using a function button to change default settings - eg full auto, special settings and so on. Menus are helpful telling you flash status, macro status etc. Lots of control is available or you can just leave it on intelligent auto and fire away. Very pleased with the results, you can even zoom when you are shooting a movie - my expensive Fuji main camera won't let me do that! It "only" has a five-time zoom, and I was tempted to look at other models with longer ones, but I didn't want to lose the 24mm lens or the small size and light weight (and cheaper price...).

Battery life is fine - charge it up before a days shooting and I very much doubt you'll be let down - I haven't been and I've been giving it some welly (technical term). Easy to recharge, just plug in the lead to mains. I would have liked a case included in the price, but bought a nicely small one from a well-known department store where I could check the fit. Out of interest it also fits into an ipod touch/iphone sock! And its 16MP, so actually you can overcome lack of zoomage (another technical term) by blowing up your shots using freeware like GIMP.

I intended this to be a second camera but find myself leaving the house just with this on my belt or in my pocket. Its great.

UPDATE

My great little camera failed after 14 months of ownership! After being very pleased with it, this was a shock. The famous department store I bought it from didn't want to know, so I contacted Panasonic who advised me to send it off to their chosen repairers telling me they have a flexible attitude to warranty terms. Estimated cost of repair? £85 !!!

I am waiting to see if Panasonic will pick up the tab (cheaper surely for them to supply a new camera...) and will let you know - so potentially BEWARE of PANASONIC!

FURTHER UPDATE

Well good news, Panasonic must have agreed to pick up the repair bill as my camera is back with me a week after I sent it off. Seems to be working OK. I know someone else was fretting about the little plastic lug over the USB connection, but don't worry about trivialities - make sure your lens operates OK. I assume it was a manufacturing fault but will now be monitoring closely. If any further developments I'll let you know - if anyone's still reading this!
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on 25 April 2012
I got this camera as a replacement for my broken Lumix FS10. I wanted a small camera that would fit in my bag and produce great pictures without having to change many settings.

Its super easy to use. Menu and settings are easily negotiable. Several modes which include intelligent auto, miniature mode and scene settings. The miniature mode is fantastic and really good fun to play around with.
I like the lumix cameras and prefer a small light camera so this is perfect, but it is very small and for some people this may be a problem.
There's no battery charger, instead you plug it in to the computer to charge it. I find this much easier as my laptop is on constantly and I don't have to remember to charge it after taking photos off. You can just switch it off, leave it plugged in and then the battery tops back up to full.
I haven't had this camera for long but so far it has been all I've wanted and more. I would highly recommend this product :)
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on 22 March 2012
The worst thing (by far) is the mini-USB connector. The tiny cover for it is horrible and feels as if it will break off at any moment. The cover is only attached to the camera by a tiny piece of wire, but because the cover is so small, it's hard to get it out of the way so that the mini-USB plug will go in. I have spent more time trying to get comfortable with this aspect than anything else.

The size of the camera is ok, certainly comparable to other cameras on the market (such as the Ixus), but I think that the camera is too small. I know that it's a digital compact and they are meant to be small, the problem is that when cameras are small then buttons are small and connectors are small (bringing me back to the mini-USB connector!)

As for the camera itself, the pictures that it takes are fine. There's a fully automatic setting which seems to work well. I've noticed that some shots can seem inferior to the Canon Ixus, however, the Ixus has a reputation of overdoing the exposure and messing with the colors a bit too much. I haven't seen such problems with the Panasonic.

One thing that's missing from the Panasonic is the ability to change from fine to standard mode. You can do that with the Ixus, you can't do it with the Panasonic. In addition, the JPEG compression used in the Panasonic isn't very good at all.

At maximum resolution (16m 4608 x 3456), an average picture is just over 6mb in size mainly because the JPEG compression isn't very good. To prove this point, simply opening a picture in Paint and then saving it straight away (without performing any actions) results in a visualy identical file but only half the file size (abour 3.2mb).

On the plus side, the camera is pretty fast (possibly partly because the JPEG files aren't compressed very much).

This camera features MP4 recording (at 25fps) and that would normally be a blessing. However, the file sizes of the videos are still too large for most people, a 45 second video took up 56mb of space. While this is better than Motion JPEG (which used about 116mb for the same clip), it's still quite high because there's no ability to change the bitrate that the movie is recorded in. Because of that, I found that I still resorted to using a video converter and therefore the choice on the camera of using Motion JPEG or MP4 was pointless.

One big feature of this camera is the ability to charge it without having to remove the battery. What you get in the box is an electrical plug and a USB cable. If you want to charge the camera, you simply plug one end of the USB cable into the electrical plug and the other end into the camera. The battery will then start charging (the camera must be switched off though). This can be a good or bad thing.

If you only have one battery then it's awesome because you never have to remove it. But if you have more than one, the chances are that you will swap to another battery while one is recharging and you cannot do that with this camera (since a separate charger isn't included). So if you have more than one battery, you would probably need to buy a separate charger or you will have a lot of waiting to do.

One big benefit though is that you can charge the camera simply by plugging the USB cable into a compatible USB socket on your computer (must be a socket that supports charging). This could be very useful though sadly the camera needs to be switched off before it will actually start charging. In the end, I just prefer to use a separate charger and swap the battery over when it's dead.

There's no AV cable included with this camera (as there is on some others) but that's only a few pounds from Panasonic. This camera has a slider to switch between shooting and playback mode rather than a button and this is better because it's more obvious which mode you are in. However, the on/off switch is also a slider, that's not such a good idea.

The dedicated movie recording button is much better than a lot of Panasonic cameras.

All in all, this camera isn't bad. But I prefer the FS35 because it's easier to handle (being a bit more rugged), comes with a separate battery charger (and an AV cable) and takes similar looking pictures. And best of all, I never need to see that awful mini-USB connector socket ever again!
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on 4 September 2013
At first this seemed to be a nice little camera. However after only four months it has failed. The zoom function is permanently jammed on which means most other functions are inoperable. Unfortunately this happened at the start of our two week family holiday which was somewhat annoying. At least I could still take pictures but only with the zoom on full. This makes things rather awkward.
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on 9 February 2013
bought it as a birthday present they loved it. worked well for 5 days then lens jammed.(hence 4 stars not 5) it was exchanged with no problem by amazon. (very good service). That was 4 weeks ago and the new one is working fine. Takes lovely quality pics. It is a which magazine best buy.
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on 27 August 2013
This was a present for my wife, who enjoys photography but can't be bothered to take her SLR everywhere with her. It is a neat fit for her bag. I haven't really tested the picture quality by making large prints, but it is easy to use and has no obvious faults. It can print direct to a printer (with a USB connection), and has enough memory to take plenty of pictures.
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on 5 February 2013
Picture quality is excellent and there are lots of handy functions once you get round the navigation. Pleased with it, but would like it to take the picture instantly without the delay that you get with a phone camera. Will still be using my digital SLR for important dates.
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on 26 November 2013
Started to use it straight from the box, the instructions are fairly minimal but you can view in detail on their web site (which is a bit of a pain)

Never the less a top compact.
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on 10 March 2013
Arrived within delivery estimate in good condition, instruction you have to download on to your laptop, easy to use, compact and takes good quality video and pics. For the price I am happy with this purchase had it 2 months now and had no problems. You will have to purchase your own carry case which the price does not include you can get them for a few quid. You can download pics and videos to your laptop easy enough with the cable provided in the box and includes the charger which does not take long to charge. You will not be dissapointed with this compact camera for many uses.
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on 13 September 2013
great compact camera, bought for Leica lens and did not disappoint photographs are great quality, lovely and clear, simple to operate.
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